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When it comes to children’s photography, there are four approaches from which to chose:

  1. You can take your own pics and call it a day.
  2. You can go to JC Penney or Sears and have cute pics taken at a good price.
  3. You can go to a professional photographer’s studio—an Olan Mills kind of place—and have slightly slicker pics taken at a relatively higher price.
  4. You can find your city’s artsy-fartsy, Ann-Geddes style photographer and blow your child’s college fund on the perfect sepia toned nude baby pic.

Can you guess which one I did Friday? If you guessed option 4, you are correct!

I mildly torn about this. On the one hand, it’s the exact sort of thing I’d fully expect many of my family and friends-those with solidly working class, lower middle class, or middle middle class sentiments-to frown upon. It is, after all, an unnecessary expense. An exorbitant, unnecessary expense. And it also sends out an unwitting but nonetheless clear signal that you expect the best for your kid. The corollary to which is that the normal stuff we all got as kids and that others get for their kids isn’t quite up to snuff for your little prince or princess. Yuck.

Worse, it’s part of a trend of justifying ridiculous expenses or at least trying to make them sound less ridiculous then they are. Expensive designer denim? Well, they just fit so much better. That pricey electric hot water dispensing pot? Hey, I drink a lot of tea. High-end furniture? Lasts longer, so really a bargain! The list goes on and on, and on Friday it grew to include photography.

On the other hand, I just don’t want a standard studio pic. I mean, I want a few of these, but I also have my heart set on a black and white or sepia-tone nude shot of Simon while his body is still baby soft, baby supple, and baby perfect. I get the proofs at the end of the week, at which time I hope to linger over their obvious superiority and justify them as capturing a moment in time that I can’t repeat and will never experience again.

The shoot itself was pretty funny. In the first place, it was simply amusing to see Simon stripped down and sitting in the middle of the floor, as I only ever see him naked on the changing table or in his bath. Funnily enough, he held his hands over his privates for the most part. And not in his usual here’s-a-fun-toy-to-play-with way, but rather in an Eve-after-eating-the-fruit-from-the-tree-of-knowledge kind of way. I think he was covering his shame.

The other amusing part of the shoot was watching the photographer loudly “A-Goo!” at, make faces at, and tickle Simon to coax a smile out of him. A few times he cried from the over stimulation of the whole thing, and truly I think the overly animated photographer was as much a part of this as the constant lights flashing at him. Simon’s a pretty smiley baby; all she had to do was say “Hey baby” in a friendly voice and he would have surrendered the dimples on the spot.

I have four more days to ponder my splurge, then I get to-I hope-admire the work and feel justified in decision. Until then, I’ll be keeping busy deciding what horrible expense I can talk myself into next.

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